When project difficulties are proactively identified and resolved, most projects can be steadied and completed as planned. In cases, where construction problems fester, it becomes more difficult and requires an intervention by a specialist to avoid asset value erosion and stakeholder relationship deterioration with legal entrenchment.
For many reasons, projects can incrementally end up with construction execution problems. For owners this can be a real challenge. Institutionally, there is usually a desire to trust project teams even when there are symptoms of an underlying problem. As months pass, the stories evolve, recovery plans are developed and missed. There can be difficulty getting real data out of a troubled project that is consistent with the ‘identified' problem. In some cases, the problems ride at a low enough level as to be unnoticed until a project is in commissioning or into early operation.
These varied situations EPR broadly categorizes as “Completion” challenges. The issues can be leadership, process, technical competence, relationship dysfunction, conflicts of interest, personnel selection, or a near limitless variety of semi-structural problems.
EPR has successfully performed many domestic and international project restructuring assignments and is considered by many to be the world-wide leading specialist in diagnosing and correcting very difficult construction problems. It often takes an innovative approach that combines a strategic commercial/technical view, robust scalable systems, field leadership, and subject-matter experience to bend site culture and raise contractor performance.
The EPR approach prioritizes course-correcting the construction program (time, budget, quality, safety) while also creating an accurate and robust documentation basis of the site conditions. The detailed ‘papering’ of the project is essential so commercial reconciliation can occur and is a prophylactic against ill-advised legal entanglement. EPR clients almost never require a legal process to resolve commercial differences.
The three areas EPR have experienced, include:
Sometimes projects end up in difficult mid-execution scenarios where the construction, legal, and financial conditions point to an uncertain future for the asset. EPR principals consider this to be our favorite assignments because the value created for our clients and the contractors is readily appreciated. Everyone enjoys the fruits of avoiding a calamity. While most of these assignments are difficult, EPR believes it is the proper use of our restructuring skills. By comparison late-stage interdiction of a bad circumstance is least desirable simply because there is less time to engineer ideal outcomes and can demand immediate changes versus an evolving approach.
EPR has never failed to bring badly troubled projects in on time, under budget, and with very high asset quality consistent with the contract. This remains true in unionized, non-union, or international circumstances with all different varieties of contracting approaches.
Another “completion” scenario that has become an EPR specialty is Completion Verification.
When a heavy industrial facility is in the commissioning phase, EPR can produce a punchlist as an independent 3rd party for owner and contractor use to fully complete the facility. The EPR approach is a highly structured use of SLATE systems with our experienced team to create precise, scalable, prioritized, and priced punchlists before awarding substantial or final completion. This is an excellent value-added service that results in a plant that is fully ready to enter operation and compete reliably for decades.
Like Completion Verification, this service occurs shortly after COD, when there is a late realization a project is suffering from poor construction and commissioning practices.
In these cases, the latent nature of defects start to become more clearly known due to undependable operation among many indicators. EPR is suited to provide expert diagnosis, determine the root-cause of the problems, document a commercial/legal position and when appropriate work to expand and re-negotiate the ‘shape’ of the Warranty period support to remedy the often substantial list of issues.
In one instance, after COD, EPR provided a 300,000 item punchlist representing 3-4 million defects and ~$400mm in aggregate claims. This example represents EPR’s ability to quickly and controllably scale into very large claims that are documented in every detail and referenced to the contracted codes, standards, and specifications.
All aspects of project planning, engineering, construction, commissioning and involve thousands of activities that need to be performed with established processes and attention to details. When difficulty occurs, EPR can mobilize very quickly to provide a condition assessment, perform root-cause investigations, provide subject-matter expert support, and be an active partner to help resolve any problem.